Ocean View VFW Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Ocean View VFW Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Vietnam War

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OCEAN VIEW, Del. -- Vietnam war veterans gathered in Ocean View Saturday afternoon to receive their long-awaited homecoming 50 years after the war.

Hundreds attended a "Welcome Home" memorial service at the Ocean View Veterans of Foreign Wars post to commemorate the war's 50th anniversary.

Vietnam has been known as America's first television war. Casualties of the war seen in living rooms nationwide sparked public outrage.

Protests and marches against the war led to unrest in the U.S. in the late 1960s and 70s.

Many Vietnam veterans say when they returned home, they were not welcomed back.

"You know when we came back nobody really cared," said Paul Brennan who served in Vietnam from 1967-69. "Actually they didn't particularly like us at all."

When soldiers returned home, they were shunned.

So for the 50th anniversary service men and women in Delaware are saying "welcome home" to all of those soldiers who are alive, deceased or still lost.

"We're watching the people come back from Afghanistan and Iraq and they're getting 'welcome homes.' We've always felt bad about that," Brennan continued. "So I thought it was very nice of them to give us a belated welcome home."

A number of public officials joined in the memorial service, including Vietnam veteran Senator Tom Carper.

"We don't begrudge our young men and women for the kind of veterans welcome they get today, that's good," said Carper, D-DE.

"I think there's been a realization in this country that maybe we didn't treat those Vietnam veterans right. And people have gone way out of their way to make amends for it including today. [It's] great closure and just a great sense of appreciation," Carper said.

Since the Vietnam war was unpopular, some veterans say they fear the younger generation doesn't know about the lasting impact the war had on America.

But Indian River High School art students are making sure veterans know they care.

Students in Steven O'Boyle's art class contributed different artworks commemorating Vietnam's 50th anniversary.

Ceramic sculptures, posters and paintings are how students say they can express their gratitude to veterans.

Some of the students share the message behind some of their art work as well as what message they can take away from the Vietnam war.

Gabriella Kohr created a poster of the iconic flag raising photo taken at Iwo Jima during World War II.

"This is a very iconic photo that I used and I think that just the picture itself speaks more than what words could describe for it," said Kohr.

Eddie Velasquez created a black and white poster of an American eagle that symbolizes strength. He says he wants veterans to be able to heal their pain through art.

"That's one of the ideas that art does. It helps remember a lot of things. Art is supposed to be captured and remembered," said Velasquez.

Some of the artwork students made will be donated to the Ocean View VFW post to be put on permanent display.

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